NEON - Lead Field Technician - Limnology - AL

NEON - Battelle

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Job Type Temporary
Salary Details $18.86-$19.39/hour
Deadline May 31, 2024
Required Experience 0 - 1 years

Battelle delivers when others can’t. We conduct research and development, manage national laboratories, design and manufacture products and deliver critical services for our clients—whether they are a multi-national corporation, a small start-up or a government agency.

We recognize and appreciate the value and contributions of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences and welcome all qualified individuals to apply.

The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) is a continental-scale observation facility funded by the National Science Foundation and operated by Battelle. The NEON program is designed to collect long-term, open access ecological data to better understand how U.S. ecosystems are changing, from freshwater systems such as streams, rivers, and lakes to terrestrial systems spanning tropical forests to deserts to tundra (neonscience.org). We depend on our people to collect observational data and samples, to monitor automated instrumented systems that collect terrestrial and aquatic data, and to operate our airborne observation platform that captures remote sensing data of regional landscapes and vegetation.

Job Summary

We are currently seeking a Lead Field Technician-Limnology. This position is in Tuscaloosa, AL. 

Lead Field Technicians supervise and perform seasonal and periodic sampling of physical, chemical, and biological data at one (1) to five (5) field sites, while exercising good judgement and decision-making abilities to interpret protocol requirements. Lead Field Technicians are assigned an area(s) of primary responsibility within the scope of data collection: botany, soils, entomology, mammalogy (except Puerto Rico and Hawaii), limnology (except Hawaii), or instrumentation.

Field observations and collection are conducted using approximately 30 different protocols and multiple Standard Operating Procedures with varying schedule requirements based on local ecosystem and field conditions.

Individuals are responsible for their own housing and transportation to primary work location.

The Ozarks Complex (Domain 08) takes its name from the Ozark Mountains and Plateau, but this diverse Domain has more than just mountains. Stretching across the southern U.S. from eastern Oklahoma and Texas to western Georgia, Domain 08 supports a variety of ecosystems ranging from upland hardwood forests to coastal floodplains. The NEON program field sites in Alabama provide a window into watershed dynamics in the southeastern U.S. NEON sites in the Ozarks Complex Domain are managed from our Tuscaloosa, AL office. 

Work Environment and Physical Demands
The work involves walking, hiking, prolonged standing, bending, and kneeling. Heavy items, equipment and packs up to 40 pounds, must be lifted and carried on a routine basis. Field work includes exposure to extreme temperatures, inclement weather, rough and variable terrain, toxic plants (e.g., poison ivy, hogweed), stinging and biting insects, and wildlife hazards. Instrument maintenance involves performing work on instrument towers ranging in height from 24 feet to 300 feet, which includes ascending and descending multiple flights of stairs. Driving off-road in 4WD vehicles is required for most field sites.

Work Schedule and Travel
Work schedules are typically 8-10 hours per day but can occasionally be 12+ hours per day, including split shifts (off in the middle of the day), starting before dawn and/or ending after dusk, and weekends depending on the work assignment. The ratio of field to lab work is about 75% field and 25% office and lab duties.

Frequent overnight travel (e.g., semi-monthly for 3-4 nights) is required.

Major Responsibilities

  • Perform and supervise stream channel and river morphology, aquatic organism abundance and diversity, biogeochemistry, seasonal climatic and hydrologic changes, and riparian phenology data collection following established, standardized field, lab, and shipping procedures.
  • Operate and maintain in-situ water quality sensors. Monitor sensor health and status through various computer interface tools (i.e., PuTTY, specific sensor software, SAS, or other visual analytic tools).
  • Record data accurately and completely; perform data Q/C checks and resolve errors in collaboration with staff scientists.
  • Provide training, instruction, and technical guidance to seasonal field personnel.
  • Perform additional field and lab procedures as assigned. This may include plant phenology, diversity, productivity, and biogeochemistry; abundance, diversity, and phenology of organisms including small mammals, ticks, mosquitoes, ground beetles, and soil microbes; operations and maintenance of in-situ meteorological sensors, soil sensors, data loggers, IRGAs and other gas analyzers used to measure CO2, and energy flux.
  • Support external research projects approved through the Assignable Asset program.
  • Ensure work hazards are identified and mitigated and support a culture of safety.
  • Follow all permitting requirements and assist with permit reporting and renewals.
  • Report issues with implementation of procedures and coordinate resolution.
  • Assist with routine administrative duties, special projects and other duties as assigned.

Required Qualifications

  • High School Diploma.
  • Undergraduate upper-level coursework in ecology, forestry, environmental or related scientific field.
  • One (1) – two (2) years of ecological field sampling or related experience.
  • Willingness to perform maintenance and field sampling outdoors in sparsely populated, remote locations, with distances ranging from 1/2 hour to 6 hours from the Domain office. Overnight travel, hiking off trail, and wading in water are typical in most locations.
  • Willingness and ability to work varied field operations schedules (up to 12+ hours per day), including split-shift, part-time, pre-dawn early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
  • Ability to hike off trail, long distances, on uneven terrain, at remote locations, in all types of weather, carrying packs weighing up to 40lbs. Ability to walk, hike, stand, bend, and kneel for prolonged periods.
  • Willingness and ability to learn and perform procedures and methods outside of the primary responsibility.
  • Ability to work on instrument towers ranging in height from 26 feet to 240 feet and at altitudes of up to 11,000 feet (depending on assigned Domain), involving the ability to ascend and descend multiple flights of stairs.
  • Ability to withstand exposure to fumes, dust, and noise. Field work may require frequent exposure to toxicodendrons (e.g., poison ivy and poison oak), ticks, biting insects and other natural hazards.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills. Ability to follow written and verbal instructions.

Equivalent education and experience may be considered. Previous NEON program field experience will be highly considered.

The NEON program will take into consideration qualifications for specific and diverse experience in the following areas:

  • Effective problem-solving skills and the ability to organize and execute multiple activities and priorities. Ability to proactively identify and resolve resource conflicts.
  • High level of attention to detail and accuracy
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team. 
  • Demonstrated optimism in adverse conditions and good judgement in identifying, mitigating, and avoiding hazards.
  •  Ability to identify good practices and areas for improvement in team performance.

Applicants must have authorization to work in the United States. We are unable to sponsor or take over sponsorship of any employment visa at this time. 

Employment is contingent on background screen, drug screen, motor vehicle records check and physical. 

Applicants must possess a current and valid State issued driver’s license with insurable Department of Motor Vehicle record (parking violations, minor driving offenses excluded) as determined by Battelle’s insurance provider.


Pay rate: $18.86 - $19.39

This information reflects the anticipated base salary range for this position based on current national data. Minimums and maximums may vary based on location. Individual pay is based on skills, experience, and other relevant factors.

Benefits: Live an Extraordinary Life
We care about your well-being, not just on the job. Battelle offers comprehensive and competitive benefits to help you live your best life. 

  • Take time to recharge: You get paid time off to support work-life balance and keep motivated.
  • Prioritize wellness: Stay healthy with medical, dental, and vision coverage with wellness incentives and benefits plus a variety of optional supplemental benefits.
  • Better together: Coverage for partners, gender-affirming care and health support, and family formation support.
  • Build your financial future: Build financial stability with an industry-leading 401(k) retirement savings plan. For most employees, we put in 5 percent whether you contribute or not, and match your contributions on top of that.
  • Advance your education: Tuition assistance is available to pursue higher education.

A Work Environment Where You Succeed
For brilliant minds in science, technology, engineering and business operations, Battelle is the place to do the greatest good by solving humanity’s most pressing challenges and creating a safer, healthier and more secure world.
You will have the opportunity to thrive in a culture that inspires you to:

  • Apply your talent to challenging and meaningful projects 
  • Receive select funding to pursue ideas in scientific and technological discovery
  • Collaborate with world-class experts in an inclusive environment
  • Nurture and develop the next generation of scientific leaders
  • Give back to and improve our communities

Vaccinations & Safety Protocols

Battelle may require employees, based on job duties, work location, and/or its clients’ requirements to follow certain safety protocols and to be vaccinated against a variety of viruses, bacteria, and diseases as a condition of employment and continued employment and to provide documentation that they are fully vaccinated. If applicable, Battelle will provide reasonable accommodations based on a qualified disability or medical condition through the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act or for a sincerely held religious belief under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (and related state laws).

Battelle is an equal opportunity employer.  We provide employment and opportunities for advancement, compensation, training, and growth according to individual merit, without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, age, genetic information, disability, veteran-status veteran or military status, or any other characteristic protected under applicable Federal, state, or local law. Our goal is for each staff member to have the opportunity to grow to the limits of their abilities and to achieve personal and organizational objectives. We will support positive programs for equal treatment of all staff and full utilization of all qualified employees at all levels within Battelle.

The above statements are intended to describe the nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, activities and skills required of staff members. No statement herein is intended to imply any authorities to commit Battelle unless special written permission is granted by Battelle's Legal Department.

For more information about our other openings, please visit www.battelle.org/careers 


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Category Ecology , Hydrology
Tags Entomology , Soil Science